China's leader offers billions for new Silk Road initiative

Chefs wait near a decorations depicting Chinese Admiral Zheng He who commanded expeditionary voyages across Asia and East Africa in the 15th century and a modern high speed rail at the Belt and Road Forum in Beijing, China, Sunday, May 14, 2017. China will seek to burnish President Xi Jinping's stature as a world-class statesman at the international gathering centered on his signature foreign policy effort that envisions a future world order in which all roads lead to Beijing. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
Attendees walk past decorations for the Belt and Road Forum in Beijing, China, Sunday, May 14, 2017. China will seek to burnish President Xi Jinping's stature as a world-class statesman at the international gathering centered on his signature foreign policy effort that envisions a future world order in which all roads lead to Beijing. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, right, shakes hands with Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif prior to their meeting on the sidelines of the Belt and Road Forum in Beijing, Saturday, May 13, 2017. (Press Presidency Press Service via AP, Pool)

BEIJING — Chinese President Xi Jinping says his country's state banks will provide tens of billions of dollars for projects that are part of his signature foreign policy initiative linking China to much of Asia, Europe and Africa.

Xi made the announcement in his opening address Sunday to a two-day "Belt and Road" conference in Beijing that brought together leaders from 29 countries.

The gathering is the latest high-profile appearance for Xi that casts him as a global leader and chief advocate for free trade.

Presidents Vladimir Putin of Russia and Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey also spoke at the opening ceremony.

Washington is being represented by a junior delegation led by Matt Pottinger, special assistant to the president and senior director for East Asia at the National Security Council.

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